A lot of what I read is Science Fiction. And if you believe Sturgeon’s Law, “90% of science Fiction is crap” (because 90% of everything is crap), so it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. But I’ve got some rules of thumb that have served me pretty well:
- If you’ve read something from the author before and liked it, you’ll probably like other things from the author.
- Pick something from the Hugo Award for Best Novel list.
Unlike the Nebula Award which is voted on by science fiction authors, the Hugo is voted on my science fiction fans. Since it is awarded based on a popular vote, the books that get nominated (and win) tend to be of the more “readable” variety (as opposed to being “literary”). Following my logic, these tend to be books that I enjoy reading (and I have empirical evidence to support this claim).
If you take a look at the picture of Hugo Award winning Novels (and short stories), I own about 1/4 of the books pictured there. And some of the ones I’ve read from that stack I picked purely because they won a Hugo.
Sometimes my two rules come together. I recently got “Rainbows End” by Vernor Vinge for Christmas (thanks Bill!). I had asked for it because of my adoration of the two other Vernor Vinge novels I read (see my last post). Tonight I was checking to see what book won the 2007 Hugo, and to my delightful surprise it was the same book I had just gotten. Lucky me!
As an aside, I also seem to be reading a lot of Young Adult’s Novels lately. When it was just Harry Potter, it was very acceptable as everyone else in the world was reading it as well. I’m not so sure how acceptable it is to be listening to the Artemis Fowl series of books on tape, or reading His Dark Materials. But regardless of how acceptable it is, I enjoy reading them and don’t plan on stopping. As a matter of fact, I’m thinking about trying out the Inkheart series of books as well, as the movie that is coming out for it looks pretty good.
Trackback URL for this post: http://www.hoopyfrood.net/2008/01/a-bookshelf-i-would-love/trackback